Quantcast
Popular

‘Single-Use’ Is Collins Dictionary’s Word of the Year

2018 saw the fight against plastic pollution amp up in a big way. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II led the charge by banning plastic bottles and straws from royal estates in February, and everyone from airlines like Alaska to cities like Seattle have followed her into the fray.

Much of the plastic backlash has focused specifically on "single-use" plastics like straws and shopping bags that are designed to be used once and then discarded, so it makes a lot of sense that Collins Dictionary chose "single-use" as its 2018 word of the year.


[Read how you can ditch disposables and what to use instead.]

Collins was clear about the environmental implications of its choice when it announced the winner on its website:

'Single-use,' a term that describes items whose unchecked proliferation are blamed for damaging the environment and affecting the food chain, has been named Collins' Word of the Year 2018.

Single-use refers to products—often plastic—that are 'made to be used once only' before disposal. Images of plastic adrift in the most distant oceans, such as straws, bottles, and bags have led to a global campaign to reduce their use.

The word has seen a four-fold increase since 2013, with news stories and images such as those seen in the BBC's Blue Planet II steeply raising public awareness of the issue.

Collins' staff of lexicographers monitors 4.5 billion words in order to select its yearly choice. This year, the adjective beat out a variety of topical choices that ranged from light-hearted to serious.

Other contenders included MeToo, Floss (a victory dance associated with the game Fortnite, gaslight, and other environmental words vegan and plogging, "a recreational activity, originating in Sweden, that combines jogging with picking up litter."

"This year, environmental issues rise to the top with words such as 'single-use' and 'plogging,' accompanied by political movements, dance trends and technology," the dictionary wrote in a blog post.

2016's word was Brexit and 2017's was "fake news," The Guardian pointed out, so 2018's choice does suggest that the environment is starting to get the public recognition it needs as a political issue, given the fact that humans only have 12 years to take unprecedented action on climate change.

"This has been a year where awareness and often anger over a variety of issues has led to the rise of new words and the revitalisation and adaptation of old ones," head of language content Helen Newstead told The Guardian regarding 2018's choices. "It's clear from this year's words of the year list that changes to our language are dictated as much by public concern as they are by sport, politics, and playground fads. The words in this year's list perhaps highlight a world at extremes—at one end, serious social and political concerns, and at the other, more light-hearted activities."

In honor of Collins' choice, why not bridge that divide by going plogging for single-use litter, then reward yourself with a yummy vegan meal?

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
The battlefield of Verdun is part of France's Zone Rouge, cordoned off since the end of WWI. Oeuvre personnelle / Wikimedia Commons

This World War I Battlefield Is a Haunting Reminder of the Environmental Costs of War

World War I ended 100 years ago on Sunday, but 42,000 acres in northeast France serve as a living memorial to the human and environmental costs of war.

The battle of Verdun was the longest continuous conflict in the Great War, and it so devastated the land it took place on that, after the war, the government cordoned it off-limits to human habitation. What was once farmland became the Zone Rouge, or Red Zone, as National Geographic reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Westend61 / Getty Images

EcoWatch Gratitude Photo Contest: Submit Now!

EcoWatch is pleased to announce its first photo contest! Show us what in nature you are most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Whether you have a love for oceans, animals, or parks, we want to see your best photos that capture what you love about this planet.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Waves from the Atlantic Ocean crash against a scenic beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This sandy peninsula is a popular summer vacation destination and is also known for its many Great White sharks. Velvetfish / iStock / Getty Images

Cape Cod’s Gray Seal and White Shark Problem Is Anything but Black-and-White

By Jason Bittel

On a sunny Saturday in mid-September, 26-year-old Arthur Medici was boogie-boarding in the waves off Wellfleet, Massachusetts, when a great white shark bit his leg. Despite the efforts of a friend who pulled him ashore and the paramedics who rushed him to the hospital, Medici died from his injuries. It's about as tragic a story as you can imagine: a young life cut short due to a freak run-in with a wild animal.

Keep reading... Show less
Renewable Energy
Max Pixel

Koch Industries Lobbies Against Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

By Dana Drugmand

Koch Industries is calling for the elimination of tax credits for electric vehicles (EVs), all while claiming that it does not oppose plug-in cars and inviting the elimination of oil and gas subsidies that the petroleum conglomerate and its industry peers receive.

Outgoing Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller introduced a bill in September that would lift the sales cap on electric vehicles eligible for a federal tax credit, and replace the cap with a deadline that would dictate when the credit would start being phased out.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Pexels

10 Things You Always Wanted to Know About Neonics

By Daniel Raichel

As massive numbers of bees and other pollinators keep dying across the globe, study after study continues to connect these deaths to neonicotinoid pesticides (A.K.A. "neonics"). With the science piling up, and other countries starting to take critical pollinator-saving action, here's a quick primer on all things neonics:

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Judita Juknele / EyeEm / Getty Images

Lyme Disease Expected to Surge

By Marlene Cimons

German physician Alfred Buchwald had no clue that the chronic skin inflammation he described in 1883 was the first recorded case of a serious tick-carrying disease, one that would take hold in a small Connecticut town almost a century later and go on to afflict people across the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
Black rhino. Gerry Zambonini / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

China Restores Rhino and Tiger Parts Ban After International Fury

Great news from China! Following intense international backlash, the Chinese government said Monday that it has postponed a regulation that would have allowed the use of tiger bone and rhino horn for medicine, research and other purposes.

In October, China alarmed animal rights activists around the world when it weakened a 25-year-old ban on the trading of the animal parts. Conservationists said it would be akin to signing a "death warrant" for endangered tiger and rhino populations.

Keep reading... Show less
Oceans
The federal government must consider endangered species like sea otters before issue fracking permits off California's southern coast. Danita Delimon / Gallo Images / Getty Images

Judge: Wildlife Must Be Considered Before Permitting Fracking Off SoCal Coast

In what environmentalists are calling a major victory, a California judge ruled Friday that the Trump administration cannot approve any new fracking off the state's southern coast until a full review is done assessing the controversial technique's impact on endangered species and coastal resources, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!